This blog is dedicated to the translation and circulation of documents and communiques from the international response to the austerity just now settling in. For the moment we’re focussing on France.
A blog is not an ideal platform for the circulation of texts of lasting interest. New translations – we can hope for substantial analysis now that the movement’s past its first peak – will continue to appear as blog posts; but this headline post will be continually updated with the most relevant links and documents.
LIENS 1: An 11-page PDF, including articles translated by others, which aims to be an accessible and practical tool for facilitating reflection on the character of the movement passing in France and its relation to the UK (and maybe other Anglophone countries.)
FRANCE FALL: a bulletin issued at the height of the French events in daily tranches; a huge amount of detail is offered on all sorts of un- and under-reported events in those weeks. Important source material for developing a sense of what occurred there and its significance for us and for history. Written by a Francophone comrade, errors in the english should be overlooked for the sake of the radical content.
The Rennes ‘Address’, directed to everyone in Europe facing austerity measures, and featured in LIENS 1, is worth reading: as representative of a certain part of that movement, and as having a few good arguments on the way, too.
The following text, published collectively by a Parisian assembly, deals with the unhappy events at Place de la Bastille, where an occupation of the opera there was liquidated by the police with astonishing efficiency which led many to speculate that they’d provoked the whole thing in the first place. It also touches on ‘comrade ninja’, so-called for having been filmed launching a flying kick into the back of a ‘good citizen’ trying to stop a hooded guy from smashing a window. All of them were widely denounced as police, too.
Really the last edition to this first number of LIENS (page 13).
There should be more material on what’s coming up in France – as everyone in the struggle tries to hang on through the school holidays after the CGT went back to work. But here’s something about the moment that just passed. The following is from the new weekly strike bulletin Jusqu’ici (‘hitherto’ or ’til now’), whose first issue was released on Friday the 28th of October [PDF]. It doesn’t have a website yet. We’ve translated the editorial from the first page – for context – and an interview with a striking FE college teacher at Saint-Nazaire [Lyceens, enseignants, cheminots, greveurs des rafineries, nous sommes tous en reseau, page 8 of Jusqu'ici], which is interesting for its slightly finer-grained than usual account of the way the movement was organising itself in the last few weeks in that ‘last bastion of the worker’s movement’. Here’s a PDFof the english translation. (This blog format is dumb.)
As the national and international media lines up with Sarkozy in announcing the movement over after the main CGT strikes wound up (in the refineries and ports), we’d like to offer a few obstinate declarations from the last couple of days. Not to prejudge anything, naturally.
In this post, a communique from an assembly in Toulouse on the 28th [Nous sommes lies a ce mouvement] and a statement from the journalist’s union brance at Ouest-France denouncing their own paper’s collaboration with the state’s preferred narrative of the movement.[Enrayer la declin editorial] After the break.
A few notes on the following: erudite and isolated, this ‘free electron’ offered a few days ago (french original) a few thoughts on the material reality of the media-construct ‘casseur’ (literally ‘breaker’, meaning hooligan, vandal, parasite, almost psychopath) in the current moment. The following text isn’t so much a document of the current movement as a real-time critical assessment of its scope and possibilities. Since the ‘vandal’ has been such a central figure in the English-language reportage of events in France, we thought it’d be useful to circulate. So: PDF(nothing special) and plaintext after the break.
(we didn’t translate the title: ‘front commun’ means something like ‘shared front’ but the echo of ‘communisme’ was worth too much to take out. ‘casseur’, as will become clear, means almost nothing. There were two things that we couldn’t translate, too: one sentence left in French, in full, in the text body; and the acronym ‘SO’, some sort of mainstream leftist body. Corrections welcome.)
There’s increasingly a solid flow of documents from France, (the best English-language source is libcom) but the following contribution’s worth a special mention for its international focus. If you’re going to read one thing from that burning country then, etc. PDF for printing and circulation; liens post.
There’s more forthcoming, but this ‘Address’, issued a few days ago by some guys around the various assemblies in Rennes (“Some participants in the general assembly of the students of the University Rennes 2, in the movement of unemployed and precarious workers, and in the inter-professional general assembly of Rennes”) is pretty important. The following is a modification of the translation of the original French posted on libcom a day or so ago. As usual, a plaintext version below the break; a two-page PDF is also available and not ugly. Really this is for distribution: circulate it as widely as you think it can have an impact, it’s not dumb. Or, as we say in a note at the end of the PDF:
(we’re circulating this text as the most advanced and serious effort at practical reflection that’s come out of the French movement so far. We hope, with its authors, that it will inspire discussion and action this side of the channel – even perhaps, across this whole stricken continent, which could in our opinion do with more striking).
MORE WHEN IT’S BROKEN.